Our Mission: To restore private lands to their natural wetland state for desert flora, fauna and migrating waterfowl.
March 21, 2021 – Exciting news! Sandia Wetlands Project is participating in the development of wetlands immediately adjacent to Balmorhea Lake, Balmorhea Texas. We are currently root plowing between the lake and Balmorhea. The dam on that side of the lake leaks and is being developed for prime habitat for wetland birds. Sandhill Cranes already been sighted in the area.
January 9, 2021 – Happy New Year Everyone! Are you experiencing “Pandemic Doldrums”? Blow the cobwebs out and visit our Sandia Wetlands Project. All are welcome. If you do visit please register in our guest book at the alcove and note your bird sightings. All comments are welcome.
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
October, 2020 – Highlights from Sandia Wetlands Project – Balmorhea, Texas.
Pond and project maintenance is always on our “To Do” list.
(L to R Pond Crew) Ellen Weinacht, Linda Myers, Judy Freeman, Ned Allen
MAESTRO AT WORK
Spring Cleanup After
Spring Cleanup Before
Kettles as big as Texas. Image taken at Sandia earlier this month. Article from Bridwatchingdaily.com. (click on link)
Kettles As Big As Texas
People and Views
Checkered Garter Snake, large for its size – three feet.
Sandia Springs, Nature Conservancy, Citizen science. Richard Sokol testing the water.
Kay Charter Executive Director Of Saving Birds Thru Habitat; Dave Wilson Sandia Wetlands Project Manager.
Of Course Bird Sightings at Sandia and elsewhere. A big thank you to Michael Gray for his world class images. (click on image to enlarge)
We hope to see you at Sandia Wetlands Project. If you visit please come to our kiosk and sign in. Note the birds you have sighted.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
September 17, 2020 – Migrating bird die off is occurring in the southwest more so in New Mexico. More here:
Unprecedented Migratory Bird Die-Off
September 12, 2020 – Michael Gray, Cecilia Riley made a recent trip to Balmorhea and Sandia Wetlands Project. On the road into the project they stopped at a large Cottonwood with water from an old canal which was busy with birds to the extent they spent much of the day spotting 57 species of birds. Including eight warbler species, Tropical & Western Kingbirds, Western Wood Peewee, Gray, Willow, Scissor-tail, Vermillion Flycatchers and Say’s and Eastern phoebes.
Mike shared some of his images. Thank you Mike!
(click on image to enlarge)
August 28, 2020 – Just In: Lots of activity going on at Balmorhea Lake rebuilding islands, creating rookeries and habitat increasing the number of birds using the lake. Nests below are Red-winged Blackbird or Grackle.
August 28, 2020 – Red Wing Black Bird nest in cattails taken at Sandia
August 30, 2020 – Time for maintenance on our various ponds. Brush, cattail and other unwanted growth to be removed, stacked then burned.
August 31, 2020 – Steve Cardiff & Donna Dittmann. LSU Museum of National Science and soon to be our neighbors. See Steve’s sighting list (link below) from their recent visit to Balmorhea Lake.
Thank you for sharing Steve!
Steve & Donna
September 2, 2020 – Following are from Sandia’s guest registry for recent months. On private property Sandia Wetlands Project is open to the public. For directions go to our “Visit” tab above. You are welcome here. Please sign in.
According to “Birds of the Trans-Pecos” author Kelly Bryan, the Marbled Godwit is listed as “Rare” – Seldom observed; may not occur each year during season indicated.
So if you are interested in a “rare” shorebird, the Sandia Wetland Project has produced it’s first. It was observed midday 04/21/12 in the center unit by Dave Hedges and Ellen Weinacht.
Park in the parking area and approach the center unit quietly on foot from the north side. Binoculars will work fine but a scope will put him in your lap.
This is a very large shorebird with a 30 inch wingspan and a large slightly upturned two tone bill. When probing for food one would think he’s drilling for oil. They go deep.
A real thrill to have this occurrence on the Wetland.
Today, Tues. April 24, 2012 GREAT NEWS—Report from Dave Hedges—Two extremely unusual bird sightings for our region have turned up at the newly restored Sandia Wetlands: Marbled Godwit (4/23) and today Whimbrel (4/24), Kelly Bryan informed that the Whimbrel is very unusual for here.
Also the newest unit added to the wetlands has water being delivered into it at this moment.
They wetlands are doing what Dave and all of us predicted. Add water and species lost nearly 100 years ago will return.
Unit 4 filled with Nature Conservancy water
Steve Garcia the rock man, and his #1 assistant Billy Gallego watch the first water go into Unit 4.
Unit 1 and Unit 4 are attracting shorebirds.
Pickup by Unit 4 (which is the same size as Units 1-3) looking from the west.
As you know, the 120 acre/feet of water from Lake Balmorhea to which The Nature Conservancy is entitled is currently dedicated to the Sandia Springs project. The project currently consists of 3 units covering a total of approximately 4 acres with another 2-acre unit proposed for the future. The project includes a parking and observation area adjacent to the county road for wildlife observers.
Based upon my observations and the discussions of future plans for the project, I believe this to be a very good use of our water and very consistent with our mission, given the potential for migratory bird and other wildlife habitat, and especially in the context of historic wetland loss in our area. During my brief time there, I observed a lesser yellowlegs, white-crowned sparrows, killdeer, gadwalls, a Mexican mallard, and dragonflies.
Please be aware that the TGMN committee for this project consisting of Ellen, Mary Fenton, Susan Penney, Barbara Novovitch, Mary Malmgrem, and others was very impressed with your recent recommendations regarding tree species and other vegetation. They plan to resume this planning in the near future and may be interested in calling on you again. If I can be of any help in this regard, please let me know.
Davis Mountains Project Director
The 2 poles 6 ft apart in the middle are for the kiosk Dave M is building. The two poles on either side of the side road are for a sign “No Vehicles” or a chain to prevent vehicles.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Yesterday the Sandia Wetland was leveled- bare to the bone. We will begin filling it this week and see what we attract.